In the Middle Ages, kings of England would hunt with their aristocrats to forge relationships and secure their loyalty. Hunting was thus an important and prestigious business, depicted in tapestries, manuscript illustrations and poetry. To renounce hunting was to make a significant sacrifice and to deprive oneself of joy, as the following romance makes plain:
And, squire, for the love of thee,
Fie on the world's vanity!
Farewell gold pure and fine; Farewell velvet and satin;
Farewell castles and manors also;
Farewell hunting and hawking too;
Farewell revel, mirth and play;
Farewell pleasure and garment gay.
Social mores have changed over the past eight hundred years, but hunting retains its loyal followers and Regent is on hand to ensure they have the appropriate attire.
Regent's shooting coat in green tweed, with a bold window pane check, is a good place to start. This is a coat that will keep you warm in the worst of the weather. The coat features a quilted lining, a double front zip, and a storm flap, with stud fastening and fleece lined hand-warmer pockets. Knitted cuffs will help to keep your wrists and arms warm and dry. The coat is finished with a leather trim on collar, cuff edges and pocket edges. If layering is more your thing, consider Aigle's quarter-zip Inksterson jumper. Made from a gauge seven mixed wool, and with a stand up collar, this jumper will definitely shelter you from inclement weather. Fine finishing touches, including a ribbed hem on the collar and cuffs, leather pull tabs and a tricolour on the neckline, give the jumper a smart appearance. Details are important, so Regent also sell thick cashmere and wool blend socks. If you wish to make a style statement whilst hunting, wool boot socks are available in brighter colours, including raspberry and gold and mustard and green. Ties, depicting a range of ornithological specimens, including grouse, partridge, pheasant and woodcock are equally popular items that will help you to personalise your wardrobe.
Clothes are all very well, but as medieval kings recognised, communal pursuits necessitated communal rewards. Regent has not neglected this aspect of hunting, and neither should you. Stylish, and social, accessories to consider are an 8oz hip flask and set of four 4oz stainless steel cups. To make use of these drinking vessels, Regent sell a select range of hunting-appropriate tipples, including Sheep Dip's 1999 Amoroso Oloroso Whisky. Distilled in Scotland in 1999, matured in bourbon barrels for three years before being shipped to Sanchez Romate in Jerez, where it is racked into Oloroso Sherry butts to mature for a further nine years, this whiskey is a labour of love. If whisky is not your thing, Edinburgh Gin's Perthshire Raspberry Infused Gin could be an alternative. Handmade in small batches in the heart of Scotland, the gin is perfect on its own, but if you really want to impress your fellow hunters, and rekindle the days of yore, mix with Champagne or Prosecco. For further reading: Robin S. Oggins, The Kings and Their Hawks: Falconry in Medieval England (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2004).